Did you ever watch Sex in the City?
I was a fan of the TV show. One of the aspects of the show that appealed to me most was Carrie’s writing career. There she’d be, tapping away at her laptop at the window of her New York apartment, happily (and apparently, easily) earning a living by analysing the single life and putting keystrokes to paper.
It was a romantic notion that I enjoyed dreaming about, now and then. And sometimes I get close to replicating it.
Take now, for instance.
I’m at a holiday house in Normanville, beachside South Australia. But I’m not perched at a gaping New York window. Rather, I’m at a laminate kitchen table, tapping away while my husband reads a novel and my two sons saunter to the holiday park ‘games room’ with some gold coins in their pockets. We’ve had a hot day at the beach, followed by boardgames, and now it’s time for us to do our own thing.
So I have the laptop open, a Clare Valley Riesling beside me, and I’m going to say a thing or two about blogging.
Like Carrie’s lifestyle, blogging can have a certain romanticism to it.
These days, we can easily become our own columnist or writer simply by opening an account with WordPress or Blogger or the myriad other blogging tools available now. I think that’s fantastic and provides hope and happiness and excitement to many writers and would-be writers around the world.
But a blog is also a commitment.
Done well, a blog is published regularly and provides quality content. It is original and provides something of interest or value to its readers.
This means it’s not something undertaken lightly – otherwise, you’re letting people down. It also takes time and effort to create that quality content, again and again and again.
So how do I maintain a blog?
Number one (and this can’t apply to everyone): I’ve always loved writing. That’s the first big hurdle of blogging and if you don’t enjoy writing, blogging will be eminently more difficult for you.
I usually mull over topics over a few days or even weeks (such as social media, communications, and People in General). But sometimes, a flash of an idea comes to me and I write an entire blog post immediately.
When I the fragment of an idea, I write it down on whatever’s available. It might be a few words, a sentence, the headline or even the first draft of the blog post …
Then I return later and flesh out that idea.
The boring stuff
The ‘boring stuff’ comes later. That may include finding other references and hyperlinks. It may be a little bit of research to make sure that I’m not sharing something that’s factually incorrect. It includes proofreading.
Good blog posts often have images, too. It can be difficult to acquire a copyright-free image, so I’ve taken to using (often naff) Instagram images that I’ve taken.
Although I use WordPress, I write the first draft of my blogs in Microsoft Word. I have a folder called ‘Blog Drafts’. Then I paste the finished copy into Notepad, then WordPress and preview it several times – it can look very different on your blog page, so this is important.
Overriding all this, I have a ‘blog purpose’. I’m not just blogging about anything (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The purpose of my blog is to provide commentary and tips on social media and to grow a community of readers to interact with. I’m a social media consultant, so it makes sense.
But I wouldn’t blog if I didn’t enjoy writing.
I’d stick just to Twitter or an app like Instagram, or interacting in communities like Quora and LinkedIn.
Blogging comes easily because, like Carrie, I enjoy tapping away at the keyboard and sharing things I’ve been musing over. I just don’t wear skimpy clothing while I’m doing it …